'Devastating' thefts of memorial plaques at Wolverhampton cemeteries 'not being linked' by police

"Devastating" thefts of bronze memorial plaques from three cemeteries in Wolverhampton are not being linked by police, officials have confirmed.

Missing plaques at Bushbury Cemetery
Missing plaques at Bushbury Cemetery

Criminals have struck at Bushbury Cemetery and Bilston Cemetery this month and Merridale Cemetery last month – with more than 100 being taken.

Police patrols have been stepped up across all cemeteries in the city in the aftermath whilst the force said they were not linking these crimes together.

Wolverhampton Neighbourhood Inspector James Bird said: "This must be so devastating for the families of loved ones whose final resting place has been desecrated and we are working hard to track down those responsible.

"We have seen similar thefts at other cemeteries in the city over the past few weeks and while we are not linking these crimes we have increased our patrols around all Wolverhampton's cemeteries.

"We'd again ask any scrap metal dealers or anyone else who has been offered bronze plaques for sale, or suspects they know who’s involved, to please get in touch.”

Merridale Cemetery, on Jeffcock Road, was the first to be targeted with more than 50 of the plaques, measuring 24 inches by 18 inches, striking in July. It is believed they struck at night.

And almost a month later Bilston Cemetery, on Cemetery Street, was broken into overnight and over 30 plaques were stolen, whilst around 27 were taken overnight at Bushbury Cemetery, on Underhill Lane, between August 10 or August 11.

Councillor Steve Evans, Wolverhampton Council's cabinet member for city environment and climate change, said: "We wholeheartedly condemn these reprehensible thefts.

"Make no mistake – we are determined to do everything we can to stop these despicable crimes and find those responsible.

“Our continued work with police colleagues sees increased patrols and vigilance across the city’s cemeteries, along with the implementation of further security measures to protect our cemeteries.

"I would ask anyone who has any information which may help apprehend the individuals responsible for either incident to contact police via live chat or by calling 101 as soon as possible."

Anyone with information should message the force on Live Chat through their website or call 101, quoting crime ref 20/721585/22 for the latest theft at Bushbury Cemetery.

Quote crime reference number 20/698472/22 for the Bilston Cemetery theft and 20/639096/22 for the Merridale Cemetery theft. Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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